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What To Do If Your Dog Is Stung By A Bee

What To Do If Your Dog Is Stung By A Bee

Our dogs are curious creatures. They love to explore, run and chase things outdoors, and while your dog may think it’s a fun game to try and bite at a bee that’s flying around. This curious nature can sometimes lead to a dog being stung by a bee &  in some cases result in dogs eating the bee! In fact, dogs stung by bees are one of the most common reasons for a visit to our emergency hospital. But what do you do if your dog becomes a bee sting victim? and how do you know if your dog has been bitten?  Keep reading to find out the signs/ symptoms & what to do if it happens.


How Dangerous Is A Bee Sting?


Most of the time, an insect bite is just irritating and possibly painful for our dogs. But bee stings can be dangerous from the poisonous bees and the allergic reactions they can cause.
With bee stings it’s not the wound left by the bite that causes pain, it’s actually the small amount of poison the bee injects. Bees have a barbed stinger that detaches from the bee and remains in your dog’s skin. After the initial sting, the venom sack remains in the skin and will continue to inject more venom, so it is best it is removed as soon as possible. There have been cases resulting in death from the amount of venom injected from being stung multiple times.
Most of the bee stings seen in hospitals are from dogs getting too close and being stung on the face. Should your dog be stung in their mouth this can be particularly dangerous as the swelling from the sting can block its airways preventing them from being able to breathe.

It is also common for our dog’s paws to become stung by a bee as they often step on them or swat them away. Stings to this area often go unnoticed and undiagnosed as their owners often think they’ve just torn a nail or cut themselves as it can be hard to see the affected area.

Signs and symptoms of a bee sting:

Just like people, each animal may differ in how strongly they react to the toxin. Some may simply experience minor swelling and discomfort, whereas others may have a stronger reaction, or even display signs of an allergic reaction. The location of the sting may also have an impact on the effects. 


Allergic reactions from bee stings usually happen within 10 minutes of being stung, but reactions can still be delayed until hours later. Dogs can also experience very mild allergic reactions to very severe anaphylactic reactions after being stung.


Mild Reactions:

  • Sudden onset of yelping, whining, or limping
  • Licking, chewing, pawing, or scratching at the bite site
  • Redness and swelling
  • Painful when touched
  • Visible sting
  • Hives or welts
  • Swelling
  • Drooling

Severe Reactions:

  • Severe swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale gums
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness




What to do after a bee sting:

If you know or suspect your dog has been stung by a bee, the most important thing to do is to monitor them for any concerning signs, including signs of an allergic reaction. Symptoms typically occur quickly after the sting, however in certain situations, they can occur hours afterward, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your dog all day!


If your dog is showing signs of an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis from a bee sting, take them straight to the vet. While seeking veterinary care you can also follow these steps to help your dog:


  1. Do your best to keep your animal calm on the trip to the vet
  2. Try to stop them from licking/scratching at the site
  3. A cold wet towel placed over the site may help reduce some of the swelling and pain
  4. Don’t give your dog any medications, such as antihistamines, without consulting with your vet first as the wrong dosage can prove fatal




What To Expect At The Vet:

Upon arrival, your vet will assess your dog and determine the best treatment option to take. 

For mild reactions, treatment may include:

  • Full clinical examination and assessment for signs of anaphylaxis
  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Pain relief

If your dog is suffering from a severe allergic reaction from the bee sting or anaphylaxis more intensive treatment will be needed.


For severe reactions, treatment may include:

IV fluids
Oxygen therapy
Additional medications
A stay in the hospital for further monitoring

*An important note to remember is not to let your dog straight back into the yard after treatment. as should your dog receive another bee sting the reaction can be more severe.

Bee stings occurring close together have a greater chance of having a more severe, faster reaction that is more likely to be fatal.*




How to care for a bee sting at home:

If your pet received a single sting somewhere on the body other than its mouth or muzzle and is not displaying any concerning signs, it’s generally safe to monitor and care for their symptoms at home.


The stinger may be stuck in the location your pet was stung. As it will continue to release venom, try to gently remove it by scraping against it with your fingernail or something rigid like a credit card. Don’t use tweezers as they may squeeze out more poison into your pet. Take extra care if trying to remove a stinger from the mouth; even the most docile pets may bite when in pain and scared.


An ice pack or cold compress may help to minimize swelling and lessen some discomfort. You should also prevent your dog from scratching at the sting site; an e-collar (cone) might be useful in this case.



What can you do to prevent bee stings?

Preventing your dog from being stung by a bee is difficult, particularly for dogs who spend most of their time outside. And with bees being a vital part of our ecosystem it may seem impossible to keep your dog safe, but there are a few things you can do.


  • When out walking your dog stay clear of areas with flowers

  • Keep your dog out and away from flower beds

  • Teach your dog to come when called, so if you see them chasing or snapping at bees you can divert their attention.

    When in doubt, you should always contact your veterinarian to ask for their advice, and check whether your dog’s symptoms warrant a vet visit and treatment. XOXO Miminko!




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